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'Overcrowding, under-staffing fuel prison violence'

On Sunday prison visits were suspended at Pollsmoor Prison after four warders were ambushed with modified padlocks, a fifth warder was attacked on Monday.

Prisoner.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – A prison specialist has reiterated overcrowding exacerbates gang violence in prison.

This comes after five warders were attacked at Pollsmoor Prison over the weekend.

Sonke Gender Justice expert Ariane Nevin says while prison management at Pollsmoor has done well to address overcapacity, the issue does influence prison violence.

“Overcrowding, together with understaffing, definitely to aggravate that problem because overcrowding means there are far more people in a cell and you cannot protect them, and understaffing puts staff and inmates at risk because often staff will not be able to intervene when there is violence.”

The correctional services department is investigating two apparent gang attacks at the centre.

On Sunday prison visits were suspended after four warders were ambushed with modified padlocks.

In an incident on Monday, a prison guard was attacked by a remand detainee.